Danny Leclair, a 45-year-old man scheduled to marry his decade-long partner, 42-year-old Aubrey Loots, in front of a national audience watching the Rose Parade today, penned an open letter to all the haters this week.
The first-of-its-kind same-sex wedding has set off a boycott from those opposed to all things LGBT.
But Leclair seems even more concerned by people on his side of things who say it's too soon for such a massive display of gay love:
To those who say it's too public, Leclair reminds folks that the first straight wedding at the Rose Parade happened way back in 1989. At that time, it was hailed as the most witnessed domestic ceremony in U.S. history.
He wonders why even gay-rights supporters would feel differently about today's vows:
We did not expect that some of our “supporters” would join the chorus of dissent. We heard from gay men who felt it was too soon to “flaunt our weddings” in public. Some felt that it was wildly inappropriate to assert that committed same-sex relationships could contribute to the reduction of HIV infections around the world. We heard from “friends” of the LGBT community who thought two men kissing on a cake would set back the movement by enraging the right-wing conservative groups. Then there were the concerned citizens who felt that any wedding, gay or straight, should be reserved for less public affairs …
For the conservatives who are planning to boycott the Rose Parade (at least by not watching it on television, as it seems to us that many of them are from out-of-state), he says, “Of course, we were prepared for the backlash.”
–That same-sex marriage can play a role in stopping HIV is a dangerous idea. “This is not an assertion supported by empirical evidence,” he says, “it is a starting point for a conversation that explores the notion that 'Love Is the Best Protection.' By encouraging and celebrating loving, committed relationships, we ask, 'Will that contribute to the reduction of HIV in the gay community and, for that matter, in all communities?'”
–That having a same-sex wedding on national television is “shoving it in people's faces.” “The coming-out process lives on,” he says, “as we continue to represent ourselves to the world with honesty and integrity in all aspects of our lives.”
–That having such a public wedding will only “embolden” the forces of hatred. “For those who condemn the LGBT community, they have not relented,” he writes. “Should we be asked to shrink in the face of adversity and opposition?”
The couple was chosen from more than a dozen hopefuls to wed atop the AIDS Healthcare Foundation's float today. The ceremony celebrates the final legalization of same-sex marriage in California following a pair of U.S. Supreme Court rulings in summer.
Supporters of Leclair and Loots have launched their own “Support the 2014 Rose Parade” Facebook page and have amassed more than 1,600 likes so far.
It is never too soon to stand proudly in your truth. … People will one day look upon the wedding of two people of the same gender as a human moment, not a political one.